Michigan Supreme Court Says Anti-Discrimination Law Protects LGBTQ People

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) — LGBTQ Michiganders are now protected from discrimination thanks to a state Supreme Court ruling last week.

Marissa Wolfe of Marquette is a transgender woman.

She was refused service by Uprooted Electrolysis in Gwinn in 2019.

“I was looking for facial electrolysis which is facial hair removal and I have to go somewhere out of state and take time off to go,” Wolfe said. “It wasn’t profitable for me to do that because I was taking time off and losing other things that I shouldn’t have fought and it was a local person that I could have gone to and his immediate response was ‘according to my religion, you are a man.’

Court documents say Uprooted argued that participating in the process of transitioning from male to female by providing hair removal services was in conflict with his sincere religious beliefs. Wolfe’s case was included in a lawsuit alongside Natalie Johnson and Megan Oswalt.

They took legal action against a Sturgis venue that refused the couple to use its space for their wedding.

The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled 5 to 2 that all sexual orientations are protected under state anti-discrimination law.

The decision was based on the ruling that the term “sex” in Elliot Larsen’s civil rights law applies to all sexual orientations, not just sex.

Wolfe says that while it was hard to be discriminated against, she hopes it will inspire others to stand up against injustice.

“It was worth it,” Wolfe said. “It was worth it. I’m happy to make a difference and happy that people can celebrate being themselves.

A staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan called the decision a big victory.

“This provides probably the most comprehensive civil rights protections for Michigan’s LGBTQ community that we have ever had before,” said Michigan Project ACLU attorney Jay Kaplan.

Kaplan now says the ACLU is focused on fighting discrimination against transgender athletes in Michigan.

See our other story for more on the court’s decision.

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